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Chrysler Recalling 630,000 Newer SUVs; Two Student Loan Bills Fail In Senate; "Shoppable Windows" Have Arrived In NYC; First Lady Skipping China Summit; Do They Control The World?; Tiger Is Top Paid Sports Star; Esther Williams Dies At 91

Aired June 6, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

"The World Lead": The Chinese president is bringing his wife but our president is not bringing his. First Lady Michelle Obama will be a no-show at their meeting in California. How is that going to go over?

"The Buried Lead": nothing to see here, just some of the world's most influential people gathering in secret for a meeting that makes heads spin among conspiracy theorists and others. What's going on behind those closed doors?

And in "The World Lead", from Russia, but without the love, at least not anymore. President Vladimir Putin single again now that he and his wife are divorced. Don't all jump at once, ladies.

Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now time for the "Money Lead," Chrysler has decided to recall hundreds of thousands of jeeps. No, not the ones the government linked to dozens of deaths from exploding gas tanks. They're recalling new models for issues that don't seem nearly as serious and have not caused any known crashes or injuries.

The 2010 and 2012 models of the Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs are being recalled to fix airbag and seatbelt problems, and 2012 and 2013 Jeep Wranglers are being recalled to fix a transmission fluid leak. This comes just days after Chrysler refused to comply with a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The company called the government's analysis faulty and insisted the gas tank design on its jeeps is safe.

Stock up on your ramen noodles college kids. There's a good chance you're about to be paying more for your student loans. The Senate failed to advance two bills that would have kept student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st. Democrats are pushing a bill that would extend the current rates for another two years and the Republican bill would keep rates low for now, but the rates could grow as the economy gets better. Neither bill got enough votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

Window shopping has taken on a Jetson's like twist in the big apple, eBay has set up high touchscreen windows around New York to let shoppers browse and buy items through their cell phones. It's based on the concept they first unveil back in 2011. The stores themselves are empty, but there are elaborate displays to entice pedestrians to stop and check out the so-called shopable windows. Once you buy something, a courier will deliver it to you.

Coming up, when the phrase something came up just doesn't cut it. It's a lot harder to dock out of social obligations when you are married to the president of the United States, but First Lady Michelle Obama is sitting out of a meeting with the president of China and his wife, and the so-called snub could have global implications. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for the "World Lead." High school reunions, work Christmas parties, brunch with the in-laws, there are a lot of things you're obligated to attend as a spouse, but apparently meetings with the president of China is not one of them for the first lady.

President Obama plans to travel to California for a sit down with his new counterpart Xi Jingping this weekend and he'll be going stag. First Lady Michelle Obama will stay back home with the Obama girls who are finishing up school. Erin McPike is here with more. Erin, is there any risk at all that this will be seen as a diplomatic snub?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I spoke with a White House official about this earlier today and what they said is that their Chinese counterparts knew when they scheduled this meeting that Michelle Obama would not be able to attend and they had no problems with it. But for some critics and also for some people in China, that's not good enough.


MCPIKE (voice-over): A Chinese state visit is usually filled with pomp and circumstances, but when President Obama travels all the way to California this weekend to meet with new Chinese President Xi Jinping, the setting will be casual. It's being built as a sign of progress for American and Chinese diplomacy, these two major world leaders rolling up their sleeves and building a personal relationship.

The Chinese president will be bringing along his wife. Like Michelle Obama, she is considered a rock star in china except she is actually a rock star, but she won't be serenading Michelle Obama. President Obama is going it alone. Meaning there will be no face time for the first ladies.

It's a curious turn, first ladies entertaining other first ladies is customary for many major state visits. There are mixed reactions on Chinese social media about Mrs. Obama's decision to stay home. One asked if the American first lady felt threatened by the Chinese first lady while others supported Mrs. Obama for putting family first. Still, critics say that's a mistake for the White House as it tries to thaw tensions with the Chinese.

CHENG LI, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION EXPERT ON US-CHINA RELATIONS: All of a sudden we heard that the first lady of the United States will be absent. That gave kind of a message, which may make Chinese people wonder whether this kind of a political gesture from the U.S. or a part of disrespect. And people in China will think this may not be just a family matter.

MCPIKE: Cheng Li studies U.S.-Chinese relations for the Brookings Institute.

LI: It's appropriate, you know, like the first lady to call China's first lady to express welcome and apologize for the absent of the meeting.

MCPIKE: The White House says that the first lady is staying home to tend to her job as mom in chief. Sasha Obama's 12th birthday is Monday.


MCPIKE: Now Jake, as you well know, President Obama has actually gotten a lot of praise for the very way he's approached the China relationship. And people say that this meeting is actually very good and a good strong thing to be doing. And in fact, Cheng Li said it would be a perfect story if Michelle Obama could go because it would be just like a double date.

TAPPER: Very nice. We're going to have a much more on the president's visit with the Chinese premier. Tomorrow on THE LEAD, we'll be interviewing the former ambassador to China from the U.S., Jon Huntsman who left the job and then run against President Obama. Erin McPike, thank you so much.

We want to take a moment right now to remember the heroic man who stormed the beaches and fell from the sky behind Nazi lines 69 years ago today. One of the darkest and most necessary days in the history of humanity, more than 9,000 allied troops were killed or wounded on D-Day.

But more than 100,000 would begin the march across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler. Many veterans who are still alive returned to Normandy today. The terrifying sounds of that day replaced by silent reflection. To all of you, you and your families are in our thoughts today. From all of us here at THE LEAD, thank you.

Sixty something, newly single, Russian mayo, no smokers, Ladies, Vladimir Putin is on the market. According to state media in Russia, power couple Vladimir and Ludmila Putin say they have called it quits after 30 years of marriage. The Russian president's ex-wife says the divorce was civilized and the couple will always remain close. I guess we'll see.

Hash tag, you're it, come up with you own single's ad for Mr. Putin, send your best to @attheleadcnn, use the hash tag, putin singles ad. We'll read the best ones at the end of the show.

Coming up in the "Buried Lead," some of the most powerful people in the world are secretly meeting in the English countryside. Why won't they tell anyone what they're talking about? Plus, PGA tour winnings, well, that's chump change for Tiger Woods. He is back on top as the richest athlete in the world. It's thanks to that money he makes off the course.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now it's time for the "Buried Lead." That's a story we do not think is getting enough clap. When you think of secret societies you think of groups of rich old men like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons sitting around a ridiculously long table all trying to top each other with their best diabolical laugh. It makes for a fun cartoon.

But in reality such societies and secretive meetings do exist and one is going on right now behind closed doors in English. The Builderberg Group is the meeting of the most influential people in Europe and North America. Wall Street investors, business moguls, politicians, royalty, they're all coming together in keeping the media and everyone else out.

What are they discussing it? What are they plotting? Doesn't the public have a right to know? Well, apparently, no. Though what they chat about could very well end up impacting your 401(k) or who knows what else.


TAPPER (voice-over): Security was tight today at the Groove Hotel in this leafy area north of London, 140 members of the global elite arrived here for a top secret hush-hush off the record conference in the English countryside. How is this for a guest list, the head of the International Monetary Fund, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the heads of, Google, and BP Oil, former general and CIA Director David Petraeus, and what's a top secret of puppet masters without Henry Kissenger?

All of them came here today for the Builderberg Conference. That's Builderberg not Builderbear. Participants are tight lipped about discussions other than to say the topics will range from the economy to jobs to U.S. foreign policy. What the organizers call megatrends and the major issues facing the world.

Reporters and outsiders are not allowed in and everything is off the record. Organizers say that's so participants can take time to listen, reflect and gather insight. Protesters from around the globe have descended upon the venue objecting to the secret nature of the meetings, which have been going on among closed doors among European and North American elites since 1954. Protester Daniel Kirby explains.

DANIEL KIRBY, PROTESTER AND POLITICAL BLOGGER: It's just a gathering of people who are concerned that elected politician who promised transparency are meeting in secret with the heads of top banks, pharmaceuticals companies, weapons companies. It's just -- it's just incredible that they can say one thing and do the other.

TAPPER: Now if you're thinking this is just another meeting of people who secretly run the world, so does Alex Jones from "Info Wars."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Magna carta has been restricted for the scum globalist that are in there.

TAPPER: Jones is broadcasting live from the conference this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want you dead, Governor. Why?

TAPPER: Some pretty nutty conspiracy theories about the group abound. They're hiding the cure for cancer, for example, is just some of the things that are being said. But because they're on the case here, does not mean that there isn't rather than for the rest of us to be wary. The conference wraps up on Sunday. And organizers say there will be no resolution or votes and no policy statements.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be very naive to think that all of these people will turn up for a meeting and have no effect. I'm sure they are actually reaching decisions about which way public policy should be going in the countries that are represented and of course in the European Union.


TAPPER: We'll have to wait and see if any of them choose to speak about what happened at the conference. Let me also say it appears my invitation was lost in the mail. You can share your conspiracy theories about the event with me on Twitter @jaketapper.

This programming not, a former member of SEAL Team 6 has a fascinating story to tell and it's got nothing to do with the mission to kill Osama Bin Ladin. The ex-SEAL has now come out as transgender and she is telling her story to Anderson Cooper. Be sure to watch "AC 360" tonight at 8:00 Easter here on CNN.

Coming up, he's got more letters in his last name than you'll find in a bowl of alphabet soup, but back in his native Canada, they just call him Stroumbo. He's like Larry King and Oprah all rolled into one. I'll talk to CNN's newest host, next.


TAPPER: In our "Pop Lead," he hails from the great white north, that's Canada, where the men are men and the couches are Chester fields. What's not to love? Canadian talk show host George Stroumboulopoulos is busting through to host a new show here on CNN. It's called "Stroumboulopoulos." Now that's a word I've been trained my entire life to pronounce.

Even before I work with George Stephanopoulos, I was a fan of the Belgian comic book "Tintin and the Villain Rastapopoulos" and of course, before that we all know snaufaphalogus. But the new show "Stroumboulopoulos" debuts this Sunday. George joins me now. So George, tell me about this show.

GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS, HOST, CNN'S "STROUMBOULOPOULOS": I'm impressed you nailed all of that. You got all of those pronunciations. This show is going to be fun, man, and thanks for having me on yours. I'm a fan. It's a talk show, interview show. We're going to do throughout the summer Friday night's with the exception of the first one, which is on a Sunday after Bourdain. But it's a sit-down interview show in a red chair and just kind of explore why people do what they do. And so I'm excited to have this moment.

TAPPER: OK, now, as someone who is half Canadian, me, on my mother's side, let's help the audience and get some of the Canadian translations out of the way for our American viewers before the big premiere just so they are not confused. Here's the quiz, if I ordered a double, double in Canada, what do I get?

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You're going to get a coffee with either two milk or cream and two sugars.

TAPPER: All right, very nice, complete this series, qrstuvwxy and --


TAPPER: What's a hoser?

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: A hoser is like the Canadian way to say, hi, dude. You call him a hoser. It's a derogatory term in you don't like the guy, but it is very endearing if you do.

TAPPER: What's a tuk.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It's a winter hat.

TAPPER: And the last one, you're a former veejay, what the is the greatest rock band to come out of Canada.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I worry about my safety with this one. The correct answer is Rush.

TAPPER: I'm sorry, the correct answer is the Tragically Hip. Control room, we'll bump out of that and thank you so much. Be sure to watch "STROUMBOULOPOULOS." I will be watching. Best of luck to you and your new show, my friend.

And Wolf Blitzer joins me now for a preview of "THE SITUATION ROOM." What do you make of our new colleague?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": He calls me the Neil Young of CNN. That's what he told Ashleigh Banfield who is a Canadian also. I asked him if they shortened the family shortened the name when they moved to Canada to make sure it would sound more Canadian. In Greece, it might have been something a little longer.

TAPPER: What have you got?

BLITZER: We've got serious stuff coming up. I'll have a separate interview with him tomorrow. We're going to go in-depth on what's going on with the NSA surveillance and much more of Gloria Borger's excellent interview with both of the Romneys. That's coming up at the top of the hour. TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Blitzer-apolos. Appreciate it. Coming up on THE LEAD, he's the number one golfer again. He's got a blonde on his arm, again. And now Tiger Woods has regained something else. Our "Sports Lead" is next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now it's time for the "Sports Lead." He made it back to the top of the golf rankings. He's got a bombshell, Olympic skier, on his arm, now there's another reason for Sergio Garcia to tape his image to a dark court. Tiger Woods is once again the highest paid athlete in the world.

"Forbes" released its annual list of insanely wealthy sports stars and Tiger is on top with an estimated $78 million in earning over the past year. He's been at the top every year since 2001 with the exception of last year when Floyd "Manny" Mayweather came in first.

A lot of people have been dubbed American's sweetheart, just one had the nickname America's mermaid. She was Esther Williams and she is our "Pop Lead." The swimmer turned movie star died today in her California home. When the outbreak of World War II canceled the Olympics in 1940, Williams joined a traveling swimming show and caught eyes at MGM. She appeared in more than 20 films during the 1940s and '50s, usually cast as the bathing beauty. She swam into her '90s and even designed a line of retro swimsuits. Esther Williams was 91.

Hash tag, you're it. We asked you earlier to come up with your own single's ads for newly single Vladimir Putin. There was a tweet, sometimes I can be in charge and sometimes you can appear to be in charge. At Brian, you like manliness, I have, you want security, I have, you wish for me to show you cross bow, I have.

We have creative viewers. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper and also @theleadcnn and check out our show page for video, blogs and excerpts. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to my friend and neighbor, Wolf Blitzer. He is next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Mr. Blitzer, take it away.